This is the weekend we would have celebrated our 38th anniversary of being together, of being in love, of sharing our lives. We were never sure of the date when he got off the train at the Lancaster station. We knew it was in mid-September, and since it was only rather shortly thereafter we both knew we would be together forever, we always set aside the third weekend in September to honor and celebrate our lives together.
It's been two months now. I'm still wandering around like a tourist lost in an unknown place, a place I never thought I'd be, wouldn't want to be if I could choose. I would like to have my money back and go home, but the agency is closed. It all seems so...final.
After her cocker spaniel died, my sister vowed she would never have another pet. It was something I understood very well. You give a living creature so much of your love and attention and happiness and care and then it goes and dies on you. She's kept that vow.
I understand that. A pet finds its way into the core of our lives. Our love for that living being is unique. It is a love we do not offer to everyone we know. It is a special love. And I will say that I see it as similar to the love we give our spouse. It's not an absolute comparison; neither is it so far from the truth.
Jack and I had our own private, personal commitment ceremony in the living room one night. We knew we loved each other. We knew that we wanted to be together, stay together, live together forever. We promised to help each other, to do our best to be worthy of each other's love, respect, and odd ideas. We promised not to run out on the other just because the relationship wasn't fun. We promised to share.
No one witnessed that moment in our lives, but I think it is fair to say that anyone who saw us together intuitively knew about it. I think people could feel it as they could with other couples who are simply devoted to each other. Sickness and health, richer or poorer, successes and failures, easy and impossible times...I think people could feel that commitment even if they didn't see a ring. I could hear it in their reaction when I proudly told them how long we were together.
Jack Veasey died two months ago. This would have been our 38th anniversary of being together, of sharing our lives. I miss him. I keep thinking he'll be down from the bathroom soon. I keep thinking he'll walk through the door, happy after an evening of poetry. I keep thinking that he's on the bed watching TV. I keep thinking that when I turn around I'll see him. I keep thinking, "I'll have to tell Jack that. He'll get a kick.." and then I remember. I remember good things, proud moments, times I'd never had experienced without him.